Bob McKean becomes PPS interim superintendent

"Portland Public Schools needs a steady hand. I think I can provide that"

Bob McKean will likely become Portland Public Schools' interim superintendent. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When Carole Smith stepped down as superintendent of Portland Public Schools, an immediate search began for an interim replacement.

On Tuesday night, PPS board members unanimously voted to make the only remaining candidate, Bob McKean, the district’s new interim superintendent.

The school board said they were looking for a superintendent who is committed to student achievement, community engagement and equity, among other things.

“I do believe I am the right person for this job at this point in time,” McKean told KOIN 6 News. “As superintendent of Centennial School District for 7 years, I know the community… Portland Public Schools needs a steady hand. I think I can provide that.”

At a public Q&A session at Blanchard Education Service Center, McKean said he would tell parents the “Portland Public Schools is a good school system. I would tell them that I’m going to try to make it better during my term and going to work to make sure that we can hire someone of the quality that this district deserves.”

The board accepted applications through August 3 and interviews took place over 2 days. District leaders said 11 people applied and 5 were interviewed. Two finalists were chosen: McKean and another person who withdrew for personal reasons.

McKean has worked as a teacher, principal, director of curriculum and instruction, assistant superintendent and a superintendent over the last 37 years, PPS said.

“I’m a hardworking person and challenges are not something that I’ve shied away from in the past,” McKean said. “This is not a normal interim position at all and I’ve been clear about that. There are going to be some very difficult decisions that have to be made and we’re going to have to resolve some very serious issues.”

McKean said he has no interest in becoming a full-time superintendent. He will serve for the 2016-17 school year while the search for a permanent replacement continues.

A national firm is handling the search for a permanent superintendent.

Their search process will likely take several months.

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